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Blood runs Cold.
on 15 March 2012
Based loosely upon a real life incident involving dog breeders in Saitama Prefecture, Cold Fish instead switches its focus to tropical fish sellers, following the meek and useless family man Shamoto (Mitsuru Fukikoshi), who runs a small shop whilst trying, and generally failing, to maintain his relationships with his second wife Taeko (Megumi Kagurazaka) and teenage daughter Mitsuko (Hikari Kajiwara). A chance encounter introduces him to fellow fish retailer Murata (Denden), who runs a far larger and more successful establishment, staffed by young girls and his strange wife. Though Murata seems friendly enough, if a little pushy, everything changes when Shamoto witnesses him brutally murdering an investor and is coerced into helping with the disposal of the corpse.
His previously ordered world is turned upside down as Murata pulls him into his life of excess and insanity, at the same time changing forever his role within his own stagnating family unit. This film is impossible to fit into any neat category. Its part horror, part black comedy (its extremely funny at times), part serial killer movie, with a huge dollop of allegory about business and Japanese society. And its also a hoot - brilliant acting and direction keeps you hooked as the film gets gorier and gorier.
The entire cast is compelling as a group of seemingly ordinary people who are teetering on either side of major personality disorders. And its not always clear who the real psychopaths are. Only the fish seem normal. Possibly the strangest thing about Cold Fish, and what marks it most decisively as another master work from Sono Sion is the fact that despite its incredible excess and abundance of madness, it remains highly philosophical, and in its own way is a deeply personal film, an internal horror show of insecurity exaggerated and thrown up on screen for all to see. Easily one of the best films of the last year, at least for fans of the director and those brave enough to enter his warped world, it stands as yet another classic from Sono, and as a truly original and unique piece of modern cinema.